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SMITH COLUMN: MSU search for a coach a quiet one

March 28, 2012


Who will be the next head men's basketball coach at Mississippi State?

It's anybody's guess and believe me, people have been guessing quite a bit.

There have been several names surface as potential candidates for the job, but as of late Tuesday night, there hasn't been a solid individual confirmed as the next leader of the Bulldogs.

Don't expect there to be much speculation on who the next MSU coach might be in this sports section. We don't believe in misleading anyone by trying to suggest who we think might be a good person for the position. Just know that Michael Wardlaw, the MSU beat writer for the Starkville Daily News, is tracking this story and once there is news to report, he will be all over it.

It has almost been two weeks since Rick Stansbury announced his retirement as the head coach of the Bulldogs.

Right after the press conference on March 15, MSU athletic director Scott Stricklin met with members of the media and talked about the search for the next coach.

Stricklin didn't have a specific timetable in mind, but wanted to make sure there was a plan in place to seek out a man that fit the characteristics the Bulldogs consider important.

One thing Stricklin said was the search was not going to be conducted through the media and so far that seems to be the case. You might see some names come across the Internet, but there hasn't been much speculation in print.

As other schools around the country are introducing new coaches, like South Carolina did Tuesday with Frank Martin, the one at MSU has been quiet for the most part.

Fans of the Bulldogs can be assured that Stricklin, Duncan McKenzie, Mike Nemeth and others in the athletic department are working diligently to find the right fit for the school as it moves forward in a new era for men's hoops.

It will certainly be a different look next season.

Not only has MSU lost senior starters Dee Bost and Brian Bryant to graduation, but it was announced this week that two other players were leaving the program for various reasons.

Starting forward Renardo Sidney has opted not to return for a senior season and plans to enter the NBA Draft, while backup guard DeVille Smith has withdrawn from the university and will no longer be a part of the program.

Smith missed some games last season because of an undisclosed medical condition and that may have been a factor in his decision. It's believed that Smith will transfer and the likely destination will be Jackson State. He is a Jackson native.

As far as Sidney, his problems with the Bulldogs have been well-documented over the last couple of years. It has been everything from the fight with Elgin Bailey in Hawaii to his effort on the court at times.

Sidney had some good games during his time at MSU, but for the most part, it was an experiment that just didn't work out in the end.

It seems to be for the best that Sidney and the Bulldogs have moved in different directions.

Whoever the coach turns out to be, he will have some holes to fill immediately. It's not clear at this point if the current signees will honor their commitment to MSU or if the athletes considering the Bulldogs now will continue to do so.

This is a critical time for MSU men's basketball and the first step is picking the right coach to bring everyone together.

Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.

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